Insertion was simple. Five miles away from Shawn Savages mansion home a pair of rented eighteen wheelers rolled to a stop on the shoulder of the Louisiana highway. The Shogun disembarked first. Ninety nine Orochi and assorted mercenaries and allies followed thereafter.
The scene was surreal. Red clan shinobi drew blades, counted arrows and mentally prepared themselves for battle beside a long black highway. The Shogun's cloak fluttered in the wind as she went over last minute details.
Then the time for preparation was over. Ivana lifted a black armored hand and shouted a command. The Orochi moved as one. A red tide swept into the miles of woods between them and their target's home, the Shogun in the lead.
Miles flew past under their feet as they flowed over swampy bayou's, through clusters of swaying willow trees and carpets of lush moss. Fat insects buzzed in the humid air as the Orochi passed like a crimson whisper on the wind, leaving barely a track or trail and unnoticeable to all but the sharpest eyes.
Layers of defenses were expected. The Savages were no fools, they would be prepared. Ivana brought the Orochi up short, well before they reached the clearing that housed Shawn Savage's stately dwelling. A ebony gauntlet gave a second symbol and the Orochi drew and loosed their arrows as if possessed of one mind.
Darts of black and silver soared from the emerald canopy of the Louisiana wood. They reached the apex of their arch and fell, a rain of sinister steel and silicone.
When they struck the ground the tranquil afternoon was shattered; a cacophony of detonations spewed razor sharp shrapnel in asterisks of silver slivers amid raging orange, boiling napalm. Others bounced and spun as choking black smog billowed from them, blinding and obscuring as the Orochi swept forward in a tide of crimson and steel.
Having already met with the Shogun in his stronghold in New Reykjavik, Percival had accompanied her assault crew to Louisiana earlier that day, his own company of half-miscreants, half-conquerors in tow. They had approached the mansion under the cover of darkness, a cloudy night concealing the moonlight behind a thick layer of stratospheric moisture. Their truck had arrived about five miles from their target, necessitating a short trek to their target. He stepped lithely through the swamplands, his hermetically-sealed second skin clinging to his form. The dark color betrayed no evidence of his presence to any onlooker, hidden as he stepped between trees. Despite the marshy waters, he was ever-silent, at this moment the pinnacle of precise movement.
The bugs stayed away from him; there's no way to know if it was because of his unnatural suit, or his artificially blackened soul.
Finally, they arrived at the Savage Estate, still concealed by the grand Louisiana Canopy above and the marshy swamps below. He let the Shogun lead the way (this was her operation), and while he considered himself naturally fit for the leadership role, he was content to accept a subordinate position in the coming endeavor. As Venezuela's ally openly when it came to politics, and discretely when it came to more clandestine affairs, Percival was obligated to join them. But it was not through sheer obligation that he accompanied the Shogun's forces, however. He had elected to come along for the challenge of engaging such a reputedly potent family as the Savages. Only a fool would deny themselves their baser instincts, to accept a "moral" standpoint when nature itself drove them towards conflict.
And so, he stood silent behind the Shogun as she readied her forces, razor-like arms crossed over his shadow-colored chest. Talons tapped absentmindedly on his shoulder, milky eyes surveying the soon-to-be battlefield. Paper-thin antennae adorned his smooth, helm-like head, each one taking in silent transmissions. Their signal came in on an entirely different wavelength than radio waves, sent from satellites high in the stratosphere. The signal was borderline undetectable, but stealth wouldn't matter much in a few moments, as the Shogun gave her next signal, commanding her army to commence the assault.
To an onlooker, Percival would seem out of place beside the battle-ready Shogun of Venezuela; his almost artistic-looking body structure, in conjunction with his machine-like angular features, evoked a modern-arts statue to be put on display in a public square, than an experienced, remorseless killing machine. The Silicon Serpent raised an eyebrow slightly as the Orochi began their simultaneous, precise attack on the Savage Estate, stepping to the right of the Shogun.
<"I am at your command, madam,"> he said with a sharp, white smile, and a small bow of his head. Every system was on the highest of alerts, his mind prepared for any conceivable outcome. His talons were prepared to taste blood, and his milky eyes suddenly glimmered with white, deadly light.
Superhuman senses could be a beautiful thing. Even as the Orochi's explosive initial assault obscured the battlefield with flying clods of earth and dense clouds of smoke and dust, Dog's other senses were taking in a heady, full-course meal of sensory information. He could hear the sharp intakes of breath as the surprise attack began, smell the sweat and battle-scent that even the most disciplined warrior gave off as adrenaline flooded his system. The stimuli called to the savage animal that lurked barely beneath his surface during the most tranquil of times, and the animal responded.
Seeming more beast than man, he dropped to all fours and charged across the ravaged stretch of ground that separated him from the Savages' home, fangs bared in a feral grimace. A low growl had been building deep within his thick chest since the moment the mutant force had disembarked from the shipping containers, and he released it in a bellowing roar that held no trace of humanity.
Dog had sometimes wondered if Ivana's closeness to her most trusted compatriots would become a liability. He himself was not much of one for affection or loyalty; his passion was for bloodletting, and anyone that provided him with ample opportunity for it could usually count on his allegiance, such as it was. He'd used such emotions against plenty of targets, cutting down their loved ones and friends, making them grow careless and giving him an advantage. It was now obvious, however, that Ivana was another matter completely; if anything, her rage had given her focus an edge as keen as the katana she wielded with surgical precision. She had been wounded by the Savages, but she was here to collect an exact and calculated repayment.
Well, precision was all fine and dandy for an assassin mission, or some black bag cut-and-run, but Dog wasn't here to slip a stiletto into some suit's back; tonight was all blades and bullets, and he wouldn't have it any other way. As he neared the mansion, the savage mutant leapt for the nearest visible entrance, gleaming eyes filled with murder.
--"Its the reason, Adam. The reason why they were sent after me. That's what bothers me. And not a lot does. I can smirk and shrug my shoulders at a lot of things, Adam, a lot of things. The media's called me cocky for it, but I'm just self-assured. I'm nonchalant, imperturbable, contemplative, self-possessed. Yeah, I'm all of those things. And I play it cool. I play it cool, Adam but I do get hot under the collar, and let me tell you, old sport, I am f***** boiling right now!"--
Those words, spoken by him to his cousin Adam Savage, echoed in his mind. Over and over again, making clear that he, Shawn Savage, never forget the day the Shogun's words warped this man of self-possession, of enigmatic cool, into something ugly, something lacking in control and all too eager to welcome the blackest of emotions.. rage. A week or so ago it was. After the Shogun's attack dogs, her first wave of mercenaries had failed. And those who dared confront him today, they too would fail. And they, like Arrachtach and Rafael, would burn. Around him was greenery, the dense and verdant vegetation, the foliage and vibrant flowers of the garden that left his home a domain of perfumed air.
Leaves, tree branches, the petals of roses, Stargazer lilies and the like brushed against him, their fragrant colors against the smokey onyx of his carboplatinum-reinforced coltan-titanium shell. His armor was a sealed environment, veiling the features of a consummate virtuoso behind armored black and a ruby visor. Attached to his back, his 'Obsidian Bow', the Stochastic Savant's greatest instrument of cruelty. Striding forward, he was silent, and his insouciant, confident roll of the neck? It permeated the swagger of a great figure of mystique. It lent to a fantasy, that behind the armor lied something unknown, something predatory. After all, is it not that which man knows not of nor understand that he fears most? Oh and Shawn Savage, he was to be feared. His every stride oozed a self-assurance, a confidence colder than ice. And those eyes whose color was dark and hazel, they peered forward, peered forward with a mute edge of danger.
BOOM! One after another, he heard the detonations ahead. He heard the glass of his windows shatter, their fragments buffered by the grass that caressed them. He felt his blood boil then. This was the home he'd built with his wife of ten years. Where they'd grown close and inevitably, cold and distant. But it failed to ruffle him further. The smoke in the air, its black columns reaching into the sky, he held it in sight, and felt the liquid crystal layer in his body, that which contained a polymerized form of lithium nibocene, a highly piezoelectric polymer, and what his mutation deemed his layer of muscle, he felt it deform and his physical attributes climb, an electric current surging through him. Then, as his eyes welcomed before him the sight of the Shogun and her forces, he paused, and stood alone. Him against the Shogunate.
And as they as they rushed forward in a frenzy born from their overzealous thirst for blood, Shawn, the Stochastic Savant, waited. Waited for them to run across the improvised mines he'd left since his execution of her first wave of mercenaries. He waited. Waited for the crust of dimethylcadmium peroxide, for its sensitivity to friction to be triggered. Because those who came forward, were one shoe-scruff away from finding their limbs blown across the estate. He stood alone then, but soon, the Savages would emerge, and by his side they would stand, against the Shogunate, against everyone and anyone.
"The ceremony is about to begin, my lord," one of the disciples whispered.
The dark chamber, bereft of light, only flickered in the long shadows with the trickling embers of long-dead braziers and extinguished fire-pits. Only a few hours ago, the preparations for this long-overdue siege were made. Only now did the ashes begin to settle again.
"There is only one lord," the Ghost Bishop replied coldly not out of resentment of the comment in question or in an attempt to call his honor into question, but in a sense of brotherhood and informative reasoning.
"And she has spoken,"
Perhaps Inquisitor Ramos did not understand his role to play in this attack. His existence as a mere extension of the virus was not embedded in his darkest dreams, psychotic and trembling with screams though they were. Ramos lived a quiet life in central Venezuela, using his mutant powers sparingly. He could hypnotize the masses with his god-given gifts, though the more he ensnared the weaker the bond became. For the greatest strength possible in this, he decided on five acolytes with which to carry out his duties.
Petty theft and robbery turned into a vision of a greater world for the mutant race once he came into contact with the Shogun, known to the mutant community as messiah. She told him to call her Ivana, but he could do no such dishonor to her eminence. He swore his life to her, and the lives of his acolytes who long ago lost all reason and thought of their own. They were his puppets to command as he would.
Little did he know, he was the marionette of not one but two masters. His body bled, and his flesh crawled, but he was not real. He would exist beyond pain and doubt, inflated into a sort of immortality through sheer reproducibility. He would never realize it, and those around him would probably never understand. For now, he followed the Shogun into battle not on the wings of the Orochi, but on the fiery maw of his own design.
A mile away, the five acolytes of the Inquisitor gathered. An artillery station, entrenched deep in the forest surrounding the secluded mansion, brought there under the shadow of the assault itself.
A black mass of bodies, the acolytes formed together. They brought the Ghost Bishop his microphone and stand, imploring him to speak, to invite the attention of an already thin defensive line. The possibilities were there, that the artillery blockade should be stopped or else the mansion should truly be pummeled into naught but rubble. Inquisitor Ramos dared not fire upon the mansion while the Shogun and her holy troops carried out this purge, and awaited for the opportune moment to unleash the apocalypse.
"Come all ye heretics and bastard children of the modern era of human ignorance!" he spoke aloud, into the microphone, so that all could hear.
"Come together and witness the end of your hypocrisy! Come together and bleed the same blood that has been drained from the veins of innocent mutants the world over! Come together and share our pain, and revel in the death of millions! Wear your penance! Be buried in it!"
The artillery barrage did not exist within the guns of an almighty armory. Nor did it come from a deep space satellite. The acolytes themselves were possessed of distinct mutant powers, specialized to cater to the needs of their Inquisitor. The tallest of them stepped forward, hands glowing with an unearthly power. His blood boiled with the sensation, and soon he launched into a series of upward cuts and cyclonic windmills. Each movement precise, understood, and purposeful. Each incoming projectile raining down not upon the mansion, but around it, consuming the surrounding forest in a menagerie of hellish fel fire. The emerald flames flickered with un-light, swallowing any semblance of vision guaranteed by the moon. The Orochi could disappear within these flames, trickling back into the shadows and striking back just as easily.
Some guns were cocked. Safeties turned off. Grenades loaded. Solid tungsten loaded. Firearms of today and tomorrow used based on effectiveness rather than age, and customized all towards the contentness of the special forces present within the mansion. Maverick using it's vast resources to allocate resources. Using Satellite feeds gained from orbit and echolocating Shadow Company below, hidden but feeding constant information based on the enemies positions. Their vibrations giving them away as ambient noise allowed for a clearer vision.
The noise was the movement of the M.O.R.S. The bulk of Maverick's forces. A league of synthetically engineered soldiers who had no souls, who had no purpose to their existence beyond being a tool and a weapon. Expendable well honed dogs ready to do whatever their masters ordered, within the parameters of their programming. The enemies would find however that the man's lawn were clad with cloaked mines, however, M.O.R.S waited in silence outside the house and only moved through the trap clad wasteland when ordered to.
A surprise would await those who sought to tread the Savages mansion. Undetectabe, they would vaporize anything of human durability and tear most everything else apart. The rest of them who were durable enough to survive, would simply find themselves launched by the mines exploding and strike enemies with hundreds of tons of force. Enough force to send many metahuman beings hundreds of feet away.
Bradshaw sat, content at watching the M.O.R.S maneuver past the the mines effortlessly. One might wonder how.
The lawn was clad with knives in the ground, that enabled the superhuman soldiers to leap across them by sprinting on the hilts without error. Thousands of them leapt towards the mansion, soon to set up further defenses with machine like efficiency as the enemy drew closer and closer. Others moved on different pathes, dancing through the minefield towards desired objectives. Setting up machine gun emplacements before the enemy had even arrived in under a minute. The rest sought to mount their offensive. Use their endless numbers to their advantages. Their numbers being at the moment approximately 2000, with tens of thousands standing by.
They couldn't be bargained with. Can't be reasoned with. They feel no pity, remorse or fear. And they absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until their enemies were destroyed.
Soon chaos erupted and they followed the noise of the explosion, mercenaries already dead as Shawn Savage engaged the shogunate, soon he would see the blurs of hundreds of them rushing by. Jumping through the trees with full gear and olympic prowess. Diving into the water. Opening fire as they would clash with the mercenaries as others found them. And nothing but the most elite and formidable opponents would stop them. Evading a fire that rapidly consumed ambient fauna, launched by their enemies.
They ran at approximately 40 miles per hour on average with Olympic strength. The only way to truly kill them seemed to be to destroying the head. Destroying their heart? That simply slowed them down. Remove their limbs? It would disable them. Break their bones? They were reinforced to the point of being difficult for any normal human to harm without as weapon and sometimes even more so. Shoot them? Their composite body armor required armor piercing rounds, and normal knives bounced off. Those that penetrated were meant with a healing factor that rivaled that of many mutants. Telepathy? They had )no psionic presence at all and couldn't be detected, let alone influenced by it.
Only elite such as the Orochi and other notable figures seemed to stand any chance. They ran through mercenaries bullets, only guns of high caliber or extreme armor piercing able to penetrate the body armor. Nameless mercenaries found themselves at a loss of how to deal with their sheer speed, agility, durability, strength and ruthless efficiency. Their marksmanship was uniform and keen. Grown men screamed in pain and utter terror when they found the soldiers had rows of sharp teeth ideal with for rending the flesh of their enemies, tearing out throats. Needless to say, any human mercenary who managed to survive would be of such skill that Maverick might consider approaching them and swaying them to their side. Some of them died, able to stopped by enough armor piercing or vibranium bullets and arrows, able to be trapped. Able to be blown up and otherwise disabled. But they would do as they were designed.
They would die and they would kill. And they kill and they would die, and either way, herald death wherever they went.
Bradshaw laid down atop the rooftop of the mansion. Prone as he held his Artemis Railgun braced against his shoulder and anchored to the ground. He looked at distant targets as he began taking his shots.
*WHIR*The semi-high pitched noise of the round flying from the rifle echoed through the landscape, hitting targets with such kinetic energy as to destroy a target's molecules. Smashing with some 85 tons of force in raw kinetic energy. The bullet tearing through most concievable body armor and being deadly to those with high durability. A normal human might survive if the round doesn't hit bone. But he shot through cover, seeing the most minute of movements, having the accuracy to down 4 men in a single shot. Sometimes more.
His eyes scoped out the area for the shogun and her affiliates. Him watching as one person steps on a mine and simply dissappears with the explosion. Most of him. One might find one of his boots 700 hundred feet away.
Meanwhile, Jackal walks about the halls sword in hand. Sword in hand as he whistles to himself contently, simply waiting for someone to dance with. He takes a big whiff, already smelling the blood in the air from the blood in the air as he joins on the roof, watching the moonlight sky.
The climb does not hinder her no plain is unscalable by such strong legs. High as I may go be it stone or bark she moves freely, a predatory creature stalked by nothing. The web is cast, a trap set in place and soon enough eyes fall upon prey. A flying sort moving through the trees soundless and nearly invisible. Then he lands, his feet not as graceful he finds himself stuck. He jerks about, struggles and resists but it's all futile. No point in letting him squirm, so she leaps from the emerald wall. A drop of rain from the night before is shaken free plummeting downward as the black widow leaps for the fly.
Amongst it's leap however she finds herself blown from course. Something had removed it's back legs the body tightens pulling in to the body preparing for the fall. It's all for not however as the widow falls to the crass below breaking upon the collision. One of her many eyes spotting an elongated shiney new twig in a tree. An arrow that was accountable for the arachnid's end. With that the spider dies and the fly remains trapped.
"That'd have been better if I wasn't the only one to see it" commented the exceptional marksman. Fusing abilities skills and technology Alex was once more back to having a bow in hand and had for a while now been performing unified practice shots. Despite this she hadn't broken a single sweat phenomenal marksmanship that dissected small animals and insects being second nature. While it came off as futile practice however the cameras showcased otherwise. With the bullets with such technology the cameras were unsalvageable. Once a bullet hit it wasn't salvageable, with an arrow however it burrowed deep but wasn't necessarily done for. These various show off shots had made a diffrent web. One of overlapping camera feed, not complete but quite informative. Beside Alex a laptop with the cameras for her use, this provided an almost three sixty degree of vision.
This was not her only play on the field however. Beside her position on the roof were several quivers, technology imbedding them in position. Other agents of Maverick had placed similar quivers by their own mounted stations. This would allow Alex to teleport from various vantage points with ease and ammunition to spare. For all her care and planning however she was never the less a victim of envy.
Apex was still a young thrill seeker of a person, emotions capable of slipping beneath her skin. For all her talents on both sides of the lines were archers. Shawn had technology in place that Alex was confident would make her drool. His swagger didn't help the situation, she never got along with rich types and those who acted like they were kings. Of course she was confident Shawn had earned his smugness growing up in Gothic though Alex however was still spiteful of the type. This created a sort of seething jealousy in the comrade in arms. Meanwhile Ivana had an array of mutant geniuses and the leading nation of Vibranium at her disposal. Alex might very well go to war with the world for a sliver of such a chance. Her opponent though seemed exploitive and ungrateful. Admittedly that was speculation, never the less though they were her thoughts. She fought alongside one over confident ego to try and take down an unappreciative ego.
"Hey Jac? You're not all om nom zombie style like our friends out there are you? Armed to the teeth isn't usually litteral." Alexandra had come to ease quite hastly with the ugly side of war. Perhaps it was the damned city known for public acts of criminal behavior. Whatever it was that hardened her also culminated in a feintly dark sense of humor. The site of bitten off faces wasn't something that'd even send a chill up her spine.
"We need you to tag alongside Ivana in her next venture." The woman spoke within the intricate hall of their home. Capital of the Inhuman populance it was as ornate as it was alien. Only now did Cadence see just how obscure her peoples designs were. It was a cross between modern technology and retro Scifi. The images on the walls were holographic and shimmering in beauty but rose from a surface that looked more akin to movie props come to life. That's when the acoustic assassin's mind snapped back to reality.
"Wait what?!" She remarked violet eyes glaring like daggers.
"The Inhumans could use some stronger ties to mutant society. Your work with Strike has made us more known. So it's time we build bridges my daughter."
"Perhaps you should build bridges that don't lead into hostile ground? Venezuela is nothing to align with, besieged with war and conflict how many times now? And now it's led by someone who from my understanding is a bit of a shadey extremist. You want are first hand shake to be with someone who's attacked nations and people on a regular basis?" Cadence wasn't taking this mission very well.
"Well look at that, we finally got you caring about the position of your people. That said you miss the entire point still. She's been in many conflicts many of which associated with the rights of abilities in some regaurd. It's in the back of the minds but the fear of Metahumans still remains. We shouldn't side with the force known to harbor extremists against who we are."
"It's still linking us to a foreign power that perhaps we shouldn't be beside. And I've nothing against these Savages, ironically they don't sound all that bad." Cadence remarked still opposed to the idea.
"Child in our welcoming embrace I allready saw your future you will go." The Queen of the Inhumans had various powers tied to the sense of touch much like Vocal did for sound.
"Don't give me that, it's hints not a full blown premonition." Cadence retaliated before getting a glare that shot a shiver down her spine. A sigh escapes "fine. Doubt this will boad as well as you think however."
Flash forward to present day and Cadence moved through the brush alongside the rest of the mutants and hired hounds of war. Her every step void of sound though her aproach wasn't particularly unseen. Soon though sound was heard as mines began to be triggered, the cackle of flames, the patter of dirt hitting ground and begrudgingly the splash of blood. Eyes closed briefly adjusting to the sounds of war, it was an unwelcome sound for her. So noisy and lacking a grand cause. Her heart wasn't in the conflict and that struck deeper then any blade could. She had to vilify good people for the sake of her own people. Making the position of regal power a fleeting notion.
Entering the field Cadence made but a whisper of "stop". The word however traveled along the grassy edge looking to reach every ear and hault needlessly rushing into a minefield. Silver streaked through the night as a kitana was drawn. And then a downward slash, the motion was fast but nothing special. From it though came a thunderous roar, a sound that could shake walls and cause earth to tremble. And from it a cacophony of detonations would follow, using sonic emissions to clear as much of the field as she could. Odds were not every mine was triggered but the lawn ravaging motion would make advances easier. And with any luck some of the Maverick forces running along knife edges would be blown asunder in their advance. Meanwhile as the whistle of shrapnel passed through the air it told Cadence all she needed to know. And through this she danced effortlessly moving and avoiding any physical harm to herself. Invested or not Cadence wouldn't let herself be undone so early in the confrontation.
The ride to the Savage Mansion had been, in McGrath's personal opinion, rather monotonous and repetitive. While the Shogun herself had gone over information in preparation for the battle that would soon unfold, the Scarlet Sensei had instead taken to entertaining himself with one of the many gaming apps downloaded to his personalized cellphone, occasionally raising his head long enough to voice things such as, "Yeah gotcha" or a "Alright, sounds good." An oddly catchy, possibly distracting tune ("Come on bubs, you know liked the song. I did!") resonated from the device as he played, all the way up until the point where it was time for them to set out on foot. It was with great reluctance ("Pricks, my clans gettin raided!") that he set the device aside, following the Orochi through the range of lush, woody environments, and towering trees that darkened the marshy grounds below.
"What? No long as heck and semi-inspirational, generic speech? Sorry, but I'm docking off points for that, Ponytail. Could've made a meme."
His previously folded arms now reached towards his back in preparation, masked features adorned with a recently re-ignited grin. In the midst of the heavy smog prior to the inevitable struggle, Dreadpool's scarlet and ebony clad hands tightened around what appeared to be a sniper rifle, physique simultaneously becoming enveloped in blinding radiance, colored whitish blue. Eyes, shrouded in the blank whites of his mask, widened in anticipation... and exhilaration. As the detonations rang out from around and the chaos escalated, his frame had dematerialized into thin air itself, unknowingly escaping the raging assault of one of the Maverick owned machines.
In the span of a fleeting moment, he would reappear in the midst of numerous umber, sturdy branches on a single tree. Crouched in a covert manner, his eye was pressed against the scope of the sniper, steadily sweeping the mansion anterior... until a figure in particular caught his attention. Positioned on the roof of the magnificent structure, was the man that McGrath had some sort of mini-goal to vex to no end. "Jack Mitchell! Haha, didn't think he'd show up." Odd glee traced the Chattering Combatant's expression as he had begun to hone in upon Bradshaw's form, finger gently placed upon the trigger to the rifle.
"Henshaw, quit frikkin hardscoping, quick shots only. Or I'm kicking you from this server."
Ivana absently waved the Orochi back as the mines and traps in front of Shawn's home begin to detonate. She had hoped the rain of explosive arrows would destroy most of the Savage's boobytraps and the smoke arrows would offer them some concealment from enemy fire but it was not to be. No plan survived contact with the enemy, after all.
Maverick's troops begin to advance. Ivana commanded the Orochi to fall back once more, melding into the dense forest and allowing the mercenaries to engage first. It seemed best to see what these new enemies were capable of before committing her personal warriors.
Something blew through the trunk of a tree beside her, spraying her armor with splinters. The Shogun ignored it, eyes drifting across the chaos of battle.
She felt disconnected. Absent. The fury wasn't there. Shawn had nearly killed Rafael and Arrachtach both but she didn't feel angry at him. He was just a machine. A dangerous machine. But she couldn't muster up any rage for an object. Rage was for people and Shawn wasn't a person.
I'm invading America to unplug a toaster. She chuckled.
Well, it won't unplug itself. Bending she drew one of her vibranium knives from one boot with her right hand and unclipped a grenade from her belt with the left.
Sapphire eyes swept across the battlefield until they located Shawn's armored form. A thought triggered the latest device built into her utility belt and she-
Emerging roughly six feet behind Shawn her thumb pressed the activation pad on her grenade. It was a psy-scan grenade, built from neural tissue cloned from the powerful telepath and clairvoyant, Albert.
It was a very simple device. An electric current ran through the neural tissue. The neural tissue was the mutant synapses that gave Albert the power of clairvoyance. Clairvoyance was the power of observation. The grenade observed. It observed everything in a thirty meter radius, down to the quantum level and it did so for thirty seconds.
Shawn's brain was a quantum computer. Quantum computers worked better than binary computing because they were based entirely off particles held in superposition. So a particle could be positive, negative, or both positive and negative. They remained in quantum superposition until they were observed.
The psy-scan grenade observed them. All of them, simultaneously and instantly through the mutant clairvoyance of the small chunk of neural matter hosted in the heart of the grenade.
Upon observation quantum superposition would collapse. The lid of the box with Schrodinger's cat was removed. It was either alive or it was dead. It could no longer exist in a quantum waveform. Essentially the photon supercomputer of unimaginable complexity would simply become a bunch of random photons, no different than the beam of a flashlight and no more capable of cognition, data storage or calculation than the beam of a flashlight.
Unless Shawn had some defense against this he would simply cease to exist, as surely as a human would cease to exist if the almighty hand of a distant god reached down and turned off the electricity that flowed through a human brain.
Quite unintentionally it would also collapse the waveform of the quantum shield that prevented Shawn's azidoazide azide arrows from detonating, unleashing an explosion of unimaginable power, unless Shawn had some way to defend against the effect.
He waited, Shawn. Mute and his focus, razor-sharp. His mind clear, and his soul? His spirit? Unruffled. His blood remained cool, and his posture remained global. Every movement, subtle and great, permeated the gestures of an imperturbable savant. Every heave of the chest, waggle of the fingers, and roll of the neck. He was an armored figure whose mystique was permanent. He waited, Shawn. Waited for his foes to come forward. For their feet to scruff against the hidden crust of dimethylcadmium peroxide, friction-sensitive, and ready to blow their limbs from their joints, and scorch their flesh into tissues of black. Then, then came their attack. Many sought to do battle against Maverick's forces, against those who struggled to aid him in this time of need.
For doing so, they were cruel, Shawn thought. It didn't matter. The sky was black, and into it, columns of smoke reached, as did pillars of fire that towered high and blocked the moon's light. It didn't matter. His visor, ruby and unassuming, was embedded with micro-lenses. Micro-lenses that sought out and seized the cosmic microwave background radiation leftover from the Big Bang. Even in absolute darkness, Shawn, the Stochastic Savant, could see, and see clearly. Through lead, through anything. But then came the first blow. These flames raged, they burned and the scent of spent oxygen hung in the air with the prominence of a force of nature. Around the estate forested regions, the flames burned. He felt his brow furrow then, and his features wear a frown. The flames burned hot. Hotter than ordinary.
Here his armor proved useful. Its rapid-twitch reflex co-polymer employed colloidal doped ceramics and a copper-based nano-lattice in an ethylene-glycol buckyball. For what? Resistance. Against energy. Against heat. And yet, it wasn't enough. He felt the flames wash over him, and their heat radiate through his armor's exoskeleton, and leave its mark on his flesh. And where his armor had failed, even if partially, his cells began their effort. They possessed the ability, strange as it may be, to absorb and store energy in a personal quantum dimensional state. They worked feverishly, but the heat, it was significant, they couldn't absorb it all, and he burned. He felt the heat swarm his body and his pain receptors light up, bringing him to a knee, his palm braced against burning soil as he struggled.
His skin tightened in response, and he felt as though he was being branded by plasma. He was being cooked alive. He moved, further from the flames, his feet dancing across burning grass until he'd found his minute of reprieve. He panted, hoped his burns and wounds would heal and his posture straightened. But then came the Shogun, eager it seemed, to make good on her ally's flames. And her attack, it was brilliant. Brilliant but ineffective. Where her ally had succeeded, she had failed. Had he been any other foe whose brain was a quantum computer, he'd have perished. He'd be dead and gone. But Shawn's mutation, it was peculiar indeed. The Shogun's grenade, it observed it seemed. But it failed. The Stochastic Savant his body, it manipulated quantum mechanics.
And through it, his body simulated the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics on a macroscopic scale, creating a probabilistic duality of life and death. He could be both dead and alive simultaneously. He could be burned, maimed, injured, and beaten to within an inch of his life, but he couldn't die. Did he even exist? Did he pop in and out of existence in a nonstop loop like many things in the quantum world? Not even he knew. But the answer was simple. His mutation, it rendered him a glitch. A programming glitch in the information fabric of the universe. And glitches can't be destroyed, they couldn't cease to exist. That was Shawn's bane. He wasn't meant to perish yet. His fate was worse than death.
For he was to outlive his family, his friends until the very end, until the universe's fate, its ultimate destruction, be it the Big Rip, Big Freeze, Heat Death, what have you, he was to be there. To die with the universe and feel its pain, to share its fate. He would die when the system he inhabited died. He was burned, scorched, wounded... but he was there. He turned his gaze towards the Shogun, but spoke no words. Instead, his arrows, they detonated. Azidoazide azide, the most explosive compound known to man. They exploded. He knew then and there. In the nanoseconds he had, that he needn't more fire. And so, he dropped his arrows, and by the power of his 'Alcubierre Ring', he teleported. Superluminal travel yes, but not quite teleportation.
The ring, it enveloped him in a warp bubble, one in previously flat space-time that moved away at effectively superluminal speed. Inside the bubble, Shawn felt no inertial effects, because the ring's working didn't involve matter in motion at speeds faster than light with respect to the contents of the warp bubble. It simply contracted space in front of him, and expanded space behind him. And so he teleported, blinked out from the explosion's range and returned... with one of his own. He sought to reappear before the Shogun. Why? Because one consequence, or rather boon, of the 'Alcubierre Ring' was that when Shawn, inside the warp bubble, 'decelerates' from superluminal speed, the particles that the bubble gathered in transit are released in violent, energetic outbursts.
And so he reappeared, in blinding burst of light and highly energetic particles that sought to eradicate the matter or.. Shogun, before him. 'That's the light, Shogun. Walk towards it', his mind echoed. Burnt and injured, having not fully escaped the brunt of his foe's triggered explosion, he wrestled the sensation of pain and sought to attack what he hoped would be a wounded and disoriented Shogun. His tissues were damaged, and his armor's shell was somewhat cracked. He didn't care. With his left hand, he held his 'Obsidian Bow', and with his right, he used his thumb to draw the bowstring, curling his fingers around it for added support. Resting the arrow on the same side of the bow as the drawing hand, he took aim, adjusted, opened his fingers out, relaxed his thumb as the bowstring slid off it, and fired.
Its release was cool and smooth. The arrow blitzed through the air in a blur, faster than any modern arrow, than any bullet even. Then he fired another. And these arrows, they were owed to the wonders of molecular nanotechnology.The arrowheads contained micro-capsules of self-replicating nanites or 'grey goo'. To power their replication, these nanites, upon contact with the target, make use of the energy from the oxidation and other chemical reactions on the organic matter of the target itself. And when powered by the energy produced by the chemical reactions of their target host, the nanites aggressively consume or otherwise alter, selected organic matter. Guided by inputted instructions from Shawn's quantum mind, the nanites' task was clear.
They were to, once inside the Shogun's body, entered through a wound, consume her DNA (a molecule) to prevent it from issuing out the genetic instructions used in the functioning of her powers. It was the greatest middle finger one could give a mutant supremacist; strip them of the powers they so unconditionally loved.
Her opponent somehow literally did the impossible and survived.
Typically her precognitive mutant powers would warn her of impending danger however the teleporter built into her belt depended on the tachyons controlled by those same mutant powers. Teleportation strained her mutant gifts, strained them to such a degree that for several seconds her mutant powers simply didn't function at all. Like a muscle pushed beyond its limits her mutant powers failed her at the critical moment.
First his explosive arrows exploded. The detonation was vast, shaking the very crust of the earth with their unleashed chemical fury. Grass was simply incinerated. The shockwave lifted Ivana from her feet and sent her tumbling through the sky like a ragdoll, leaving behind a pit of glassed earth.
The canopy of interwoven leaves and branches caught her fall. An armored shoulder bounced off a thick branch and she grunted in breathless impact as her leg clipped an immovable tree trunk.
She spun, out of control and then abruptly flipped in mid air like a cat, landing on her hands and knees in a algae filled bog. Thick brown water splashed her armor and soaked her cloak, steaming with the leftover heat of the Azidoazide azide arrows explosion.
Wading out of the swam she took stock of her injuries. They were not inconsiderable as the shockwave had slapped her nearly a hundred meters through the air like a child's toy. Though her vibranium armor had absorbed the lions share of the impact it was only the rejuvenation of her returned youth that allowed her to stand at all.
A month ago that would have been it. She realized. Game over. KO.
Then Shawn returned in a tremendous cacophony of fire as relativistic particles decelerated into the hydrogen and oxygen mixture of atmosphere.
Once more Ivana was sent flying through the Louisiana bayou. Branches as thick as her wrist snapped like twigs as she was hurled through the woods, moments before they were devoured by the expanding fireball. Trees that had stood straight and noble for the rising and falling of empires were burned to skeletons in a heartbeat, scored down to the corewood and left spindly, awkward mockeries of a living thing.
The Shogun rolled to a halt, covered in fine, pale ash streaked with mud. She rose, shakily, deeply injured by enduring two massive explosions one after the other. Vibranium layered her body and she was gifted with athletic powers and endurance beyond that of any mere human yet all things had a limit. Even restored to her prime she simply could not endure this kind of punishment.
Shawn did not hesitate, unleashing arrow after arrow. Reflexively Ivana's hand snapped out, ignoring the pain of injury and the fatigue of battle, slapping arrow after arrow aside in a flickering blur of black vibranium.
Yet as skilled as she was several arrows pierced her guard, driven by the accuracy and speed of Shawn's inhuman archery abilities.
Razor sharp points struck her armor.. and bounced off, kinetic energy absorbed by the thick vibranium plates.
Oh yeah. She mentally chuckled to herself.
Rolling her neck she took stock of the situation. Clearly Shawn was not beatable. He could survive the unsurvivable with no ill effects whatsoever, was was seemingly unscathed by the explosion of the Azidoazide azide arrows, could move at relativistic speeds and had unlimited physical strength. Somehow his armor had been damaged because he walked into a fire on his lawn but the universe was ruled by strange and capacious gods and made no sense at all at times.
Ivana lifted a hand, signaling her Orochi to retreat from the battle and with a thought teleported back to Venezuela.
You've got to know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em. The lyrics of the old song ran through her head as she removed her ash covered helm, motioning to the medical staff on standby as she sank down onto a waiting gurney, plagued by a host of internal injuries.
He stood cross-armed behind the Shogun as she made her advance on Savage, analyzing the coming battle. He had felt no need to engage any threats as of yet, as his talons were best kept clean for a truly challenging foe. And so, he remained still as the Shogun of Venezuela roared into action, vanishing as she began her personal assault on Savage. He'd been made aware of the psy-scan grenade, and how it was to decimate the quantum mutant's mind, but should it fail he could (as of yet) see no way to immediately put him out of action. He merely stood in the same spot, barely visible due to his cloaking technology, listening to silent beats of electronic dance music. Fingers tapped rhythmically as Orochi fell on the battlefield, vicious Maverick grunts tearing through them. Casually, he observed the creatures, recording their habits and capabilities. He didn't even so much as wince as one Orochi warrior's face was brutally ripped to shreds.
Hm, he thought, gazing upon the carnage. Things seemed to be going as planned. And yet, Percival would soon be cursed with an unfortunate catastrophe, with a little blessing coming in the form of his foresight. Right as the Shogun launched her psy-scan grenade, Percival had the final thought to turn his pain receptors off with his nanomachines, as was customary in battles. He would no longer experience sensation, a safeguard for any possible injuries he may incur.
At that moment, there was a massive explosion, ripping away at the grass and vaporizing many on the field of battle. The shockwave blew apart foliage for acres around the property, and debris from inside hurled outwards at ridiculous speeds. As he stood, arms crossed, at the edge of the battlefield, even the Mechancial Marvel could not react as a small piece of hyper-heated rebar soared into his eyeball at speeds nearing Mach 5.
"AGH! Son of B$TCH!"he yelled, unable to avoid the debris. Had he not turned off his pain receptors a mere moment before, he would have been instantly incapacitated, the pain driving him absolutely insane. He would have ceased to function in that exact instant. But no, instead, he was only uncomfortable, his right optic entirely liquefied by the smoking metal, now apparently embedded in his eye socket. Gingerly, he reached up with a black claw, poking the rusty, hot metal. Wincing, he clasped his fingers around it, attempting to wiggle it loose.
Ah, nope, no...c'mon...it's like taking off a Band-Aid...
Tightening his grip, he tugged the rebar from his skull, yanking it out with one move. Dropping it on the scorched grass, he felt at his now-empty semisynthetic eye-hole, dismayed to find that that he could fit an entire two fingers inside. Also, of course, blinded, he looked around with his remaining optic, his nanomachines already working to stem the bleeding. The blueprints for his eye had already been called up subconsciously, and they would soon go about reconstructing it, as well. But for now, he was absolutely disgusted.
Repulsive, he thought, brow furrowing. Now that he was through with handling his particularly grievous injury (though relatively benign, in comparison to what he'd been through before), he performed a preliminary scan on the premises, searching for any sign of his ally. She was alive, alright, but the signal was coming from Venezuela.
"Oh, brilliant," he said, rubbing the back of his head with his hand.
Wait...no, come on...
Where his fingers had touched the back of his scalp, he found an empty hole. The rebar had actually pierced the entirety of his head, emerging out the other side. He recoiled briefly, before running the tip of his finger around the clean hole in the back of his head.
That'll take a few days to fully heal, he thought with dismay. He'd have to keep the sensation suppressors on the entire time, lest he truly experience what it's like to live with a hole through your skull. Had he not, mere moments before, deactivated his nervous synapses responsible for nociceptive sensation, it'd be likely that he would be rolling on the grass in agony. Such a thought gave him little comfort. And with the Shogun having retreated, it seemed prudent that he would do so as well. He didn't wish to make enemies for no reason.
"Well...good day, then," he said across his private line, contacting all of his allies on the battlefield. Extending his micron-thin nanomesh wings, he opened his arms to the heavens, rockets extending down his leg to his heel. With that, they activated, propelling him high into the sky, more silent than a hummingbird's wings, blood casually pouring from the hole in his head.
Wasn't long before amongst furious detonations and a Maverick and Orrochi forces colided violently. Conflict unforgiving and brutal the pawns could hold off the pawns however. Instead Alex focused on trying to pin point the location of more reknown opposition. That was not to say the ninjas were mundane or that the bioengineered units were expendable. Roles had to be played however and so Alex scanned until she spotted a muzzle flash. Well concealed and aim quite true the marksman was impressive. He'd fired upon Bradshaw however he didn't pay her any mind. And once the eye was gazing down a scope it's vision was hindered. A blind spot of radical scale, one of many things that turned Alex off of guns as a primary weapon. Looking toward Brad sights likely didn't know she existed and with rapid haste Alex looked to capitalize on the window of opportunity.
Drawing an arrow from a quiver mounted on the roof she pulled checked her aim and fired. Her hand reaching up and over as soon as the first arrow was released a second was notched and let loose. Her aim was flawless, the second arrow followed the first to a degree that the two were almost indistinguishable from eachother. A mine goes off, a bright flash and within it one of the arrows vanishes. A bright flicker amongst the leaves follows this pass. A redirection of one of the arrows masked by the exsplosions below on it's exit and by the woods on re-entry. Targets were simple, the one from above looked to pierce the foot. To dispose of mobility and likely pin her opponent down. The other went right for the forehead dead center.
However thanks to the Skellie, the 'Hunk' power armor her strength was much more then classic archery talents. Her draw weight was not of say a hundred pounds, but two tons. She effortlessly was releasing arrows that should have been imposible of her light figure. Backed by this technological innovation of Maverick her arrows could pin opponents to a concrete wall, hit more like fifty caliber bullets then an arrow. As for the arrows themselves they were crafted arrowheads of obsidian. They were scalpels on the field of war sharp enough to rarely find resistance on their own made better by the power put behind them. And best of all they were cheep, Alex could reclaim or lose her arrow without worry because the standard arrow was not a billionaire play thing. Of course this might of just been envy that she didn't have such playthings.
"Success doesn't necessarily come from breakthrough innovation but from flawless execution. A great strategy alone won't win a game or a battle." The comment was a quote made as Ivana and Shawn were about to square down. Both she expected had a strong repertoire for this moment but who'd use it better was a question at hand. Then came an unexpected explosion, opposition looking to turn the Savage's weapons against him. Her eyes were fast, watching the exsplosion in slow motion.
Begrudgingly it meant Orpheous was to escape the blast as well. Alex would spare herself and Bradshaw of the potent exsplosion but with Orph so close it meant she aided him as well. As the portal opened to spare Alex and those near by any backlash of the detonated Savage arrows however, she also needed to send that furious detonation elsewhere. To which she directed it to the arrows fired seconds ago. She desired to ingulf the carmine sniper in the detonation Ivana and Shawn had been apart of. Curious to see if this sniper had resources like those two. That was if he was even alive things were transpiring almost faster then she could follow. It was all quite the rush to the apex marksman.
"Oh I eat people. Swallow 'em whole. I just don't do it with my mouth." Jackal says, his humor being appearently, also dark in nature. "More are approaching better go find a dance partner. Or a meal, if that's your thing." The cyborg smiles jumping of the window, hearing a message from Bradshaw in his mind.
Bradshaw did something seemingly, unreasonably dangerous. He slowly put his hands around his helmet, and it unlocked, disattatching from a firmly held mechanism of his armor, as he placed it to his side, and then resumed taking up the scope. Looking downrange as he'd caught the glimpse of another scope (@dreadpool10) and hearing his annoying ass voice. Talking about "hardscoping" or some crap. He's probably gonna have to ask someone like Apex or Prometheus what the hell that is later. Right now, he had to move. He was vulnerable.
They guy's bantering calling his own attack against someone with seemingly supernatural levels of battle precognition, who's ability to analyze and predict based on facts and observations led him to the conclusion of his opponents attack without a word? He leaned his head and the first shot whirred past his head, and by the time the rest came, he was already ducked by. His eyes not able to and not needing to perceive the rounds fly by. And then, he looked up peeping again with his rifle taking aim with his Artemis' armor piercing around, the man's marksmanship being a result of years of practice.
A shot that he fired diagonally straight into the air. Missing the snide sniper by literally 20 feet seemingly as it soared off in the distance....
It would only be a few seconds before one of the jets summoned by Orpheus Knightfall would crash into him at mach 2.
Bradshaw's eyes narrowed, and he felt a subtle shift in the air wash over his face. The sensations of a finely honed sense of "touch" feeling the air move. Not just from the explosion Apex blocked. He'd known Orpheus was there before he even landed. And yet, there he sat, un-moving. Unflinching. Indifferent.
A shadow loomed over the pair for a split second before the walking weapon (@orpheus_knightfall) got hit in the face, by a flying tank. Not the ones he summoned that hovered above the ground. One of his spider tanks being launched towards his general vicinity to send him hurdling back as he was thrashed into the ground by the heavily armored vehicle as he lands pinned in the front lawn as the vehicle.
Jackal says, a sadistic smile crawling across his face. "You still owe me a fight. That tournament showcase of yours never quite did it for me. Wasn't my kind of scene. Not like here." Here, where he could kill to his heart's content. Though, oddly enough, Orpheus' faction wasn't satisfying to Jackal, not to someone who accepted a fully prosthetic cybernetic body for the intent of massacring metahumans. They were only men. Men with artificial healing factors, but simple men none-the less. Ideally, he would have liked to slay the Shogun herself. But the arrogant power mad monster Orpheus was? He would do. He was the same in concept, in Jackal's eyes.
Bradshaw stood up. Putting his helmet on."Someone tell Nemaz he owes me 5 bucks. I told you the guy wasn't gonna try to off me. He had the f*cking nerve to try to screw with me. Sorry, but if it was that easy to kill me, let alone play with me, I would have been dead a long time ago."
Bullets bounced harmlessly off Bradshaw's armor now, it being too durable for most small arms and only something larger able to possibly harm it. Bradshaw went about to searching for other targets already. He left him for Jackal.
The walking war Machine strode forth. The locations of all the anti-tank mines memorized. Him watching as progressing vehicles attempted to move forth, only for tanks to be torn apart by the enormous explosions of the devices, molten copper punching through the armor at mach 25. Men reduced to mist. RPGs exploded throughout the air as shadow company and ENCU used their unncanny accuracy to simply shoot them straight out of the air as the approached, and even shot them while they were being loaded. Through the chaos that was functionally Shawn's lawn turned no-man's land, Jackal walked forth, unimpeded. His eyes locked towards his target.
"You friends are gone."
Mercenaries began to learn their employer had indeed left, and began to promptly leave as well, no longer having the support or moral to consider fighting a force such as Maverick. The healing factors of the opponents doing enough to mitigate damage, but not negate it. Accelerated healing can only do so much when you arm has been completely blown off, or when they know to aim to the devices they were using for their healing factors. Or even killed before they could actually use it. Particularly when their enemies possessed it.
Indeed, a single M.O.R.S. could be killed with the right ammunition, but they sought to take advantage of the situation. Seeking to demoralized their enemies. They knew not what fear, or happiness, or pain was....
Indeed, currently they were outnumbered. There are hundreds of thousands of Orpheus' army, an army he had assembled that surpassed the current number of active duty US Marines Core, which had 194,000 active duty members. The army has approximately 438,000 active duty members. In a sense, Maverick was forced to essentially combat an equivalent to the army more so comparable to that of a very large country on United States soil in what had gone from a personal scuffle to now essentially a full scale war between one man hell bent on simply attempting to impede this private military corporation at every turn.
"You make it too easy, Orpheus." Jackal says, as a few of the loyal bots appeared. Trying to gun Jackal down with bullets that bounced off. Lasers that were deflected into another soldier. Plasma that felt like a breeze. Nothing much less than aHEAT round or a tank round was going to greviously wound him. His blade cut through the metal of their armor with ease as he tore through them as if made of Plasticine.
"And all you've gotten done so far is give us evidence of you affiliating with a terrorist to wage war on United States soil. Yeesh, at least make this difficult. At least act like you aren't a child in a suit and a lot of nice looking toys."
Jackal rushes forth and throws a kick forward, launching the tank off him. "While the Shogun and her technicolor ninja squad have slipped away." Jackal raises his foot and punts Orpheus away some distance so that he can land on an anti-tank mine, launching him a hundred feet into the air to come crashing down onto the earth below. Only for the cybernetic swordsman to follow up, falling now from his leap some 300 feet into the air and shattering the ground with a stomp to the floor, landing squarely on his face. A smile on his face as he was enjoying the rush of using his power.
Orpheus might knock Jackal back, but for Jackal to simply get up. His body not depriving him of pain, he felt it the same way as he did when he was a man, and he loved it. Jackal sheathed his sword as a soldier threw a chaff grenade.
Martial arts was an effective thing. One in particular interesting Jackal, Jujitsu. It was the perfect martial art for use against someone like Orpheus, clad in indestructible armor. It doesn't matter how durable his armor was, bend a joint at the proper angle and his human body would break. He rushed forth. Cloaking now, elusive. Negating sound and using the grenade to negate countermeasures. Jackal appearing, so that he may see briefly, so that he may strike.
He came from behind Orpheus, performing a fluent and brutal suplex to crater him into the ground and transition into leg lock, a locks. Kneebars and arm locks, skillfully performed.And able to leverage hundreds of tons of force on Orpheus' body through his armor, disregarding it's indestructibility. *CRACK* First was the left leg.Then he dissappeared again, appearing next to him and bowling him over for the arm lock with his knee against his back. *CRACK* Then the arm.
"Wonder how you're going to bribe your way out of this one. How you're gonna pay someone off for this one...."Jackal said, his hand clenching Orpheus' throat as he raised the cyberpunk into the air.
"The guy does have kids."Bradshaw does mention to Jackal. Seemingly trying to let them simply take Orpheus in for what's done, what he's been doing. He man-turned weapon staring at Orpheus for a few moments.
Before he his artificial CNT based muscle tenses, heat and electricity surging as with one swift motion, Jackal turns Orpheus neck with the force of several hundred tons.
He tosses his corpse Jackal stares at Orpheus, he can't help but feel....unsatisfied. He craves more. Bradshaw's stealy expression under his mask betrayed no internal thoughts.
Jackal turned around, walking back towards the house.
Everything, the detonation, the assault from the bow and arrow, it had all transpired in a fleeting haze, beyond complete comprehension. "Whatthe he--" In a moment's notice, the pitch-black sniper had slipped from within his grasp, clattering to the emblazoned grounds below. An abrupt, incredibly sharp pain shot through his foot as it was pierced by an obsidian-tipped arrowhead, paving way for a gaping hole that would temporarily restrict him from leaping from the tree's resilient branches. "Least it perfectly blends in, am I righ--" He was promptly cut off as the second arrow hit the mark, painfully colliding with the base of his forehead, considerably hard tip almost splitting through his skull.
"You might consider cosplaying for Tomb Raider," He wheezed, brows furrowing as he caught site of the archer. Reeling backwards against the tree, arms outstretched to his sides, the eruption that simultaneously ensured in the midst of the arrow-assault had at last sent Dreadpool spiraling from his position, blown from his previous entrapped state in a most uncomfortable way. Heading throbbing violently, it was with a low THUD, that he struck the grounds just below.
"Ha, that escalated quickly," He wheezed, bones aching, slowly but surely sitting himself up. His suit was a bit... worse for wear, to say the least. Severe burns covered his torso area, a hole in the center of his mask exposing bleeding tissue having been created from his attacker's arrow. Tattered, disheveled, and covered in numerous abrasions, he managed to stand himself up once more. The odd, heated prickling sensation occurring around the injuries meant that they were already in the middle of mending themselves. "Welp, McGrath, you have failed this city." While the explosion had managed to blow off the arrow in his foot, the one embedded in his head was another matter altogether. With particularly odd nonchalance, he grasped the arrow by its end, flecks of blood spurting forth as he heaved it out as well.
Clasping his hands together, lightning-like arcs overtook his form, first emitting from both, now scarred ("But healing") hands. Large chunks of the ground beneath him rose upward, before shooting towards him in a manner that appeared as though he were being crushed. In that instant, however, the chunks of ground had begun to... change shape, almost transforming into a liquefied state. As they enveloped the Scarlet Sensei, their colors somehow became akin to his suit, composed of his signature red and black color scheme. Melding with the tatters of his previous costume, the manipulation of the chunks on an unknown scale had enabled Dreadpool to completely repair his outfit, having been transmuted into the spandex that he so gladly donned.
"Matter manipulation folks, defying all forms of sensible logic since 2015, pretty solid year so far." Enveloped in the light of his teleportation, he would beam himself up to the roof that the archer stood upon, blades now tightly grasped in both hands. "Hes alive! What a twist, as M Night Shyamalan would say." Diving forward, his first assault would consist of a series of rapid, flailing slashes aimed at randoms points at the archer's body. During which, he would continuously leap and flip and dodge around her, displaying an unprecedented degree of physical agility. Such a style of attack, while appearing to lack finesse, was primarily intended to catch his opponent off guard.
Whether or not his initial assault was successful, he would finish off by leaping into the air, thrusting both legs forward for a dropkick intended to strike his opponent's stomach, in an attempt to knock her off the roof.
Direct hits everyone, foot ravaged by an unforgiving arrow and another digging into a skull Alex was able to watch the blood spray in virtual slow motion do to her uncanny sight. Brutal as it was though her opponent was still talking. Though with a mask over his face gunfire explosions and distance she couldn't quite make out what was said. All she was able to pick up was "cosplay" but she wasn't a nerd who did such things. Her eyesight made every movie and game a tedious eye sour rather then an experience. However the archer did laugh, do to the man turned weapon who spoke over the comms. An action that was loathed soon after as Alex was now confident she'd hear more bad jokes from her opponent cause it looked as if he were the funny one.
Despite a hole in his head and a foot that was ugly to look at complimented by serious burns her opponent still stood. Watching marrow and muscle grow back was quite a hypnotic sight. Then he covered himself up once more and Alex's grip tightend in frustration. Not only did she now have feelings of envy from two other archers now she was angry at being denied a good show. A rarity for her that was now lost. No time to let the mind be clouded by emotion however she had to focus. Healing on a rather extensive level, matter manipulation and, there it was a flash all to familiar to Alex. Teleportation.
"Forgive me if my mind ain't blown" Alex commented abruptly before being assailed by numerous swings of the blade. She wasn't a melee combatant her defense was sloppy. However do to eyesight that could keep track of even speedsters with ease she could follow the movements rather well. Frequently sparks danced through the air as Alex blocked lettin the exo skeleton take the blows. The armor wasn't. Not the most protective but good senses and or skill could capitalize on it's design. Despite this though Alex did however take several cuts, the movement of her opponent was ideal for turning her blocks into moments for brief laceration. Arms laced with cuts, her hand to hand combat a bit underwhelming she was moving out of her last block when two boot prints were left on her shirt. A gasp for air a jolt of pain and the archer was flung from the roof.
Tapping a small trigger on her bow Alex released the Vibranium arrow tip and cord she'd taken from an Orochi who'd fallen in Gothic's last assault, made on the criminal underworld. Arrow burrowing into the roof Alex was able to turn it into a swing that had her rolling into one of the mansions halls rather then hitting the ground hard. Retracting the cord she shot it once more using the various sights of the targeting rectical to peer through the roof and find where the crimson swordsman was.
Gas powered Vibranium tip used as a grappling hook raced to spear into the back of the swordsman. Where using the full four ton strength the exoskeleton Alex would look to pull her target through the roof itself and bring him into easy targeting range. Pass or fail she'd be next going for a series of shots. The two ton draw weight pulled back without effort. The high speed arrows went for the knees and elbows looking to remove the option of mobility. With any luck they'd also pin the opposition down. She couldn't kill him, the previous hole in the head and exsplosion told her that. However containment might still be an option.
The feral mutant stopped short, ducking behind an as-yet undetonated bit of foliage as he sniffed the air more purposefully, making sure he was not mistaken. He was not. The Shogun and her Orochi were no longer on the battlefield; their scents were already fading, swiftly being replaced by those of the remaining combatants.
This created a dilemma. With his employer having quit the field, there was no practical reason for Dog to remain; he had no personal grudge against the Savages or their allies, at least none that had yet revealed themselves. On the other hand, the rush of battle was already in his veins, urging him to spill blood.
Cursing under his breath, he surveyed the carnage surrounding him, taking in the tactical scope of all that was going on. Clearly, some of Ivana's allies remained, as what had originally been a small raid had seemingly morphed into all-out warfare between two mercenary armies. Ultimately, it looked like the night would end in the defenders' favor, as they had the home-field advantage and an intact force. While guns-for-hire that Ivana had brought along were by no means rank amateurs, without the disciplined core of the Orochi to rally around, it was a fairly ragtag bunch.
Time for a compromise, then. While Dog wasn't about to stand a fight a losing battle that really wasn't his, he also wasn't about to let a quarry whose scent he'd caught to escape entirely unscathed. Slipping into the shadows of the bayou that surrounded the estate, Dog left the battlefield behind, but he did not travel far. When the clash of steel and the report of firearms gave way to the moans of the wounded and the silence of the dead, the victors would let their guard down, and then the Alpha Dog's hunt could begin.
"I f*cking knew it. Knightfalls never stay down." Bradshaw responds.
Jackal whips back, his eyes narrow as he feels a slash across his back, his synthetic blood drawn as the blade sparks against the cyborg swordsman's adamantium resistant back whipping around into seemingly dust as Orpheus seems to have become something else entirely. He landed a series of hardened strikes, each one that had felt like being hit by a semi truck. He recoiled and grunted as he felt Orpheus strikes his spine and the head, sending Jackal hurdling back some distance, as he staggers to his feet clenching his chin.
"Heh. You've been holding out on me Orpheus." He comments, turning as he watches him stalk towards Bradshaw. Spitting out a small amount of dirt from his mouth.
Bradshaw looked at him with the same steely gaze he'd held before. He's stared down practical gods before. He saw Orpheus as hardly anything different than what he'd fought. His reply to Orpheus being simply.
"You got an upgrade. Good. You'll need it."
Bradshaw said. Not even backing up as the Newly born Nanotech-Knightfall approached. As he did smoke litered the ground as Orpheus threw his flurry, the Maverick mutant hunter dissappearing into it, rolling with a hit to mitigate damage as he was struck in shoulder and sent flying back 20 feet from the strike, his armor stiff for a moment and than loosening as he regains control of his limbs mid roll, halting himself as he lands nimbly on his feet like a cat. Dragging against the grass. His cold battlehardened eyes locked on Orpheus as he saw him shift forms.
Bradshaw had watched, and observed, drawing information from the battlefield with a honed but un-augmented mind. One that served him well and enabled him to keep pace in a world of people with vast intellect, practically instanteous nano-second and picosecond reflexes, hypersonic movement speed and the capacity to destroy entire blocks and bring down skyscrapers in time from mere minutes to moments. Bradshaw had no nanosecond reflexes, was gifted intellectually without being capable of mastering every known academic field and possessing Olympic levels of speed and agility. His mind is something he thinks of as his greatest weapon, because if he had the mind of the average run of the mill soldier, he would have never survived as long as he did today.
From previous observations and experience, he could predict most of what Orpheus would do next through multiple contigencies in his mind, constantly adjusted in real time through observation. He'd garnered Orpheus would try to eat him, crush him or throw him. All of which he was prepared for. With little use in firing the gun he dashed back on the minute chance of being able to evade, but Orpheus had already ensnared him completely in the metallic goo of his body.
"Get off me."
His armored whirred upon his mental command his mind now as the machines sought to flick him away, blowing them off of him in a blast of plasma in the motion of the throw, throwing off it's execution as Bradshaw was only launched towards the savage manor a hundred feet away, his body bouncing off a brick wall as it dents and he falls to the ground, the armor stiffening as he breaks his fall with a roll.
Jackal said, feet trudging past a pool of the M.O.R.S. Blood, battle data of Orpheus' abilities being constantly recorded. The M.O.R.S. being joined by more taking their place. Surround them as Jackal approached, his eyes glowing a lumiscient red as he goes from a walk to moving at such speeds for him to appear to have teleported. His blade seeking to clash with Orpheus. His durability hadn't changed, but he used more of his muscles power. A single clash of Jackal's harder than diamond, incompressible blade causing the air itself to thunder and ripple. And he was hardly done "testing" Orpheus.
A smile creeped across Jackal's face, as Bradshaw took aim and then deliberately, Jackal's moved about the cyber punk, his muscle allowing him to contract under the force of 10,000 Gs acceleration force, and enabling him to slash 50 times in one second, with the rate of Jackal's slash being the same as the firerate of a some miniguns.
And then he would stop, he jumping back from Orpheus and actually standing in Bradshaw's way, as he takes aim with the railgun. Causing the man to swear under his breath, as Jackal speaks to Orpheus. Analyzing the resonant frequency of his.
God-F*cking dammit Jackal.
"...How does it feel to forgo your humanity to become something stronger? To become more powerful then you could have before, with a weak and frail body. One mutilated by someone who was endlessly stronger than you?" Jackal's smile grows wider a foot stepping into the blood riddled ground.
What Jackal had done to Orpheus? It was the same thing that happened to him. Jackal had his "inferior" human body he had trained to maintain, mutilated by a superhuman in a matter of moments, despite having fought and killed so many such superhumans, it only took one mistake and it was all over. His body destroyed beyond practical repair. He wanted another, one stronger. "Better." To become "something more."
Jackal said, his blade now activating. Tuned to resonant frequency of the internals of Orpheus. A strike from the blade able to bypass indestructible materials, and harm the user inside through vibrations upon contact. His katana being somewhat of an electric hair clipper taken up to eleven, it vibrated at an ultra high frequency at the moment, it's frequency tunable to be able to ideally destroy whatever it contacted. The vibrations invisible due to their minute nature, and short range. But powerful. Blood was repelled from his blade now as he heated up from the rapid, growing power it.
"Do you feel anything at all?"
He was persistent in asking questions. In savoring the moment. Orpheus was his enemy, but he was his creation. Jackal himself, was often called a monster. And from what he'd seen, he'd seen himself to be a monster creating another monster. And it fascinated him.
His heel went onto the head of Orpheus' destroyed bots as it was slowly crushed under the weight and raw strength of Jackal's chassis.
Arms drooping off to his sides, the whites of Dreadpool's mask holes curiously peered around the fiery landscape that had remained in the aftermath of the incursion. Flames danced across his gaze as it sweeped the mansion's exterior, the stench of smolders permeating the air.
"Well that was pretty anti-climatic. Ponyboy Curtis and the ninja crew are gone, Tomb Raider just died, Henshaw is flippin-- SONUVA!" Flecks of warm blood trickled down his back at the sudden, stabbing impact. As the ground beneath him collapsed, he found himself forcibly pulled downward, almost as though having been harpooned. His swords clattered at his sides, painfully landing upon backwards.
Another whitish haze of light, and his form had vanished into the ground, the arrows swiftly whizzing past. "Had to no-sell those, I'm sorry." In another instant, he had begun to descend from above, a pistol grasped in each gloved hand. Hastily jamming them forward, he would begin unloading rounds upon his target below, intent on killing her in what he considered 'the ole fashion way'.
(Jus using this as a set-up for something else. Ha)
The Noir Rose had silently maintained an argent war on Gothic's, Brahma Brotherhood, from beyond the shadows. Hidden beneath the bureaucratic bullshit that the city's high ranking officials had been hand feeding the media for years. Free to conduct his own brand of vigilante reparations. But the master Arashikage was not slave to a moral belief or even anchored by the scales of street justice. No, Quintus was motivated by a nightmare. Visions of an entire reality torn about at the hands of god like idols. Misled, manipulated, until their unyielding fortitude and will had been twisted into perverse shadows of their former grandeur. Ziccarra and Alexis, rulers of Reality-M, driven mad by the galactic collective of the Third Society, effortlessly crushed his universe. And now news coverage of Spain's internal strife seemed to indicate a similar change. If the Cardinal Goddess and her estranged husband, thee Champion, went to War, the World would be helplessly caught int he middle. If not now, sometime in the not so distant future. In Quintus' mind the solution was obvious. Kill them both before they can destroy the Earth....
So with each tactically planned and surgically executed strike against the Gothic rogues, the Dark Arashikage continued to cultivate an exceptional arsenal. But it wouldnt be enough. Against low level metas and supers sure, but against the New Gods? The pantheon of power? He would need a more exclusive line of armaments. Luckily space and opportunity had presented him with a small closing window.
An assault on a mutant whom, in Quintus' reality, was the foremost expert on quantum psychics and part of the most recognizable family on the planet, Shawn Savage. He could only hope the similarities still held weight.
Somewhere inside the embattled archer's mansion, perhaps in an unbreakable vault, the blueprints to one of his most prized possessions lay in safety.......
Wood brick mortar it all scattered in a cloud of debris as she brought down the house. Well a small chunk really belonging to the Savages damage was actually minimal the explorer likely could browse the house quite extensively. Such pleasantries were for a time when not engaging a qualified mercenary. Begrudgingly her arrows missed, so keen was her sight that she could shoot past the debris as it fell arrows dodging chunks of wood and brick. Backed by enhanced strength the arrows moved more like bullets. Despite all of this however her opposition evaded fire. Escaped every arrowhead in what clearly was a shining example of agility and dexterity, all made in a way almost comedically insulting.
Indeed the apex of accuracy was insulted but never the less she kept a level head. Eyes set on the gun barrels out of the corner of her eye Alex darted for cover. Her movements beyond a sprint were few those motions however were precise judging where the barrel was, where the bullet would travel and moving past it. Not every round was avoided however dropping into a slide for cover further movement became limited. A rib cracks the pain of which causes a muscle spasm she'd been able to arange where it would go didn't mean it didn't sting like a bitch. Another round hit the exoskeleton a spark and the bullet lost most momentum as it wasn't directly hit however it managed to rip into skin not deep but leaving a crimson trail to slowly roll down her arm. Ducking behind a small counter table Alex was sparred of further impact.
"Don't worry about it grew up in Gothic I'm used to rude people I'll get you next time." Two arrows were drawn as she readied though the X-ray sight of her bow caught sight of someone in a near by hall, she had no friend or foe tags but with all the noise and conflict she could guess which it was. Drawing a third arrow Alex let the first go immediately.
Racing towards a wall the arrow looked to be going absolutely nowhere noteworthy. A rift opens though the luminous light swallowing the arrow. It would abruptly reappear on a flanking right looking to dig the arrow into the throat of the intruder. Backed by a two ton draw weight the arrow could pierce even some of the more durable mutants and Metahumans. The obsidian arrowheads were three nanometers thick in their edge able to cut with a scalpel like ease. Hopefully it'd be enough to slow the intruder down at the least Alex had to return to the talkative gunslinger.
Still under cover she opened another portal and fired again the exit was hidden under a brick from the earlier roof collapse. The light of her teleportation was masked but not obstructing give the strength. The arrow went right for between the legs, not a blow Alex wanted to see. She'd grown up on Gothic though and a girl growing up in such city had to be unforgiving. Rising from her cover arrow drawn back another shot rung out an arrow racing toward not the gunslinger but one of the guns. So precise was her aim that Alex had fired an arrow into the plasma pistol barel of Gale Xander's as she was moving. That was when her arrows were drawn by a normal fit girl, when the arrows were of generic material. She was faster now with her arrows, stronger in impact she was sure she could make the shot again. Fully confident in herself and even more so that the gun wouldn't be firing after that. Of course nothing was ever certain and Alex was allready going for the next arrow before the last one had even had a chance to hit.
"You grew up in Emo City? You poor, unfortunate soul. Just for that, I might just call it quits and leave. I mean, living in Gothic? You're probably suffering even now," His inflection simply dripped with nuanced sarcasm, shamelessly exhibited in an annoyingly mocking fashion. As little wisps of smoke furled from the ends of either pistols, he held them up directly to his nose. A satisfied grin complimented his masked countenance as he deeply inhaled the fumes. Heck of a lot better than a cigarette, he thought, before shoving both firearms forward once more. Nonchalant attitude betraying actual attentiveness, rather slowly, he had begun to stride forward.
Rather suddenly, a loud screech pierced the corridor, reverberating echoes spanning past where the archer and the swordsman fought. Negating the need to obstruct the barrel's of Dreadpool's pistols, he himself had doubled over in pain that was clearly rather intense, pistols clattering at his feet. It seemed getting blown up and arrowed through the skull wasn't quite as uncomfortable as this was. "Darnit... darnit... hold on, gimme a sec... oh God, this is gonna hurt," He murmured. Hands snaking around the arrow now embedded between his legs, another howl of pain escaped his lips as he heaved it out. "That supposed to be some kinda innuendo? If so... gg, gg,"
"Alright, what the heck am I even doing here? Ponyboy Curtis ain't even fightin anymore!" Rather than bending down to retrieve his fallen firearms (Or teleporting back to where his swords had fallen), McGrath flung his hands into the air, frame rooted in place. Almost stumbling from the pain of the previous arrow. "WAIT! Truce, ain't a point for us to fight. Haha, no pun intended by the way. Ninja Queen's gone, and I ain't got nothin against the cliche-last name family. Now.... I do wanna know, who the heck are you supposed to be, and why are you cosplaying for Tomb Raider in the middle of a battlefield?"
"Naw bro keep your pitty party for your offspring I'm pretty sure even they felt that. No really I'm ever so slightly sorry that was uncalled for probably wasn't much to hit anyway." The sarcasm constant and playful even though the act of arrow removal got a slight look away in disgust. She'd also noticed his movements in just arrow removal and stance pre shooting injury. Despite a bemused unserious matter the target wasn't himself a joke. Completely capable on the field and resiliant it was a good hire.
"Personally I've a bit of arrow envy." She meant litteral knew it might be taken otherwise though. "Don't know if I like Savage land but business is business." Her bow pointed downward but an arrow was notched ready should the discussion go sour. "Similarly while I've nothing personal agains you business is business. You just aided a terrorist. The attack was premeditated and I didn't study law bu I'm sure charges could be placed maybe your even wanted and will net me some decent money. Anywho" with that Alex went for a pair of cuffs painted a hot pink. It didn't take an expert to know she hadn't gotten a standard issue pair yet these were of a personal variety improvisation was key though.
Moving to cuff the rejuvinative comedian Alex answered. "I'm as TV tropes might label The Chick Cold Sniper Archer Archtype. Or something like that and while an uncanny look a like it ain't cosplay sorry but we won't be going to Comic Con together. Now let's see what to do with you." Tapping her comms the archer looked to contact Shawn as this was his home and as such the captive was more or less his. Of course the comms was mentally opened to also go to Maverick.
"Might have caught you a clown fish. Not the shark in your waters but your welcome to have him." Normally her opponents had a permit extra nostril she didn't have to figure out where to take them. "Again I'm ever so slightly sorry. But you no sold As you said, I had to think of something." Alex trying to make light of the ordeal she didn't mind killing talking to someone who she should have but hadn't slain was a entirely new experience though.
Shots fired, oooooohhhhhhh. Cobalt complimented orbs still trained upon the apex archer, he slowly bent down, hands snaking around the handles to either handguns. The adopted cautiousness laced in his movements seemed to convey some sort of message. Briefly, he raised the pistols upward, winking before he thrust them into the ebony adorned holsters attached to the side of the outfit's legs. "Hey, least I didn't kill anyone. Attempted murder, perhaps," He remarked, extending out his hand in signification to his previous, brief struggle against the archer.
"Gotta apologize, but I'm callin bull, you've got to be some kinda cosplayer. I mean, it makes the most sense. I promise I won't judge either," Jason assured, a suspicious glint written across his gaze as he eyed the pair of handcuffs she held. Haven't gotten paid, this whole thing went tah crap, and now I'm gettin arrested? Nah, ain't happening. Swerve. As the archer drew forward, he himself had begun to back away, arms still held upward. "Aw,come on, seriously? I really wasn't feeling up to being arrested by Lara Croft in live action. Specially not without it all being recorded and put on youtube... or GiantGrenade dot com. Thinking about it now though, I never really liked the forum community there..."
Subconsciously drumming fingers against his chin (In some act of reminiscence), a sudden flash and he had vanished in a haze of white. Instantaneously reappearing across the room (Where he had been dragged through the roof), he hastily bent down to retrieve his fallen blades. "Well Tsundere, fraid staying round here just isn't in my best interest. But hey, you're welcome to try and fight me again whenever yeh'd like. Right after you pay off the tab for damages, don't think I'll chip in. You are the one who started it, anyway."
Jackal stood idly, looking towards Orpheus as he walked off to touch the bots, and start assembling an army as his machines replicated. Meanwhile, since he was hardly doing anything, other M.O.R.S had come about. Assembling themselves for those not too damaged, and their army as Orpheus assembled his. With them being practically the only ones left. Jackal only stood there and stared before he spoke. A look of dissatisfaction on his face.
Without a word, his blade deactivated, and he twirled it in his hand for a moment before positioning it into the magnetic scabbard used to continuously retain the items sharpness and levitate it within it, so that it does not actually damage it. And then, he sloly sheathed the blade. Turning around, walking away with a neutral face as he leaves the confrontation. His mission wasn't to have some grudge match with Orpheus. It was simply to protect the Savage family, like the rest of them there. Upon realizing this to be nothing more than a grudge match between an angered Orpheus and them, they simply went about securing the area now, choosing not to engage or even provoke him further, though wary of him.
"Walk away? Fine. We go one way. And you go the other." Bradshaw says, already anticipating some attempt at a speedblitz first and foremost. But ultimately turning his back and leaving to go into the Savage mansion. M.O.R.S moved about the premise, giving one another medical aid where needed, and watching him carefully.
Bradshaw approaches her, looking at Mcgrath briefly for a moment, not saying anything. And then back to Apex. "Remind me to make sure you get a raise for the crotch shot. It was priceless." Not even attempting to shoot the Crimson-clad-clown, Bradshaw looks at Mcgrath again and then says. "Better get to steppin'."
With that, they'd secure the area. Forces standing by for further retaliation.
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